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Westrourke(Grand Duchy of)
Location: Known World, Isle of Dawn (east of the continent of Brun; southwest of the New Alphatian Sea), north-western area.
Area: 97,272 sq. mi.
Population: 55,000, including 25,000 in the capital of Newkirk.
Languages: Thyatian (official), Alphatian.
Coinage: Thyatian Standard: Emperor (pp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), denarius (cp). Coins of many other nations are in common circulation here.
Taxes: 25% income tax collected quarterly (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, Ei. 1). Citizens abroad must still pay. 5% sales tax on all but food and clothing.
Government Type: Independent Grand Duchy under the jurisdiction of the Empire of Thyatis. (Its ties to Thyatis are merely a formality.)
Industries: Agriculture, armour, dyes and pigments.
Important Figures: Duke Thrainkell Firestorm (human, male, Pr12 of Vanya), Duchess Holva Firestorm (human, female, T13).
Flora and Fauna: Standard for its climate. Dangerous monsters include goblinoid hordes scattered throughout the Isle of Dawn as well as bandits.
Description: by Favonius Viator
The large dominion of Westrourke is now approximately half the size it was before the war with Alphatia. General Martigan of the Alphatian forces spearheaded the assault into Newkirk where he slew Duke Donegal Firestorm and conquered the Grand Duchy for the sunken Empire. In AC 1009, when the land was reclaimed by Thyatis, Thrainkell Firestorm, Donegal's heir, was forced to give up some of his northern lands to Helskir as well as the large peninsula containing Redstone to form a new County for the Empire. Westrourke still remains one of the largest dominions on the Isle of Dawn.
Westrourke is blessed with a variety of landscapes and lesser dominions.
The southern-most area containing the Duchy of Newkirk, the capital itself, is delimited with the Southern Kauth Hills, a light forest on its eastern border, and grasslands marking the northern borders. Most of the coast of this Duchy is one large cliff face into the Bay of Newkirk, leaving it unlikely to be attacked by Northmen raiders. The City of Newkirk is famous for its armourers capable of making the most extraordinary suits of plate and chain.
Just north of the Duchy of Newkirk lies the Dust Reaches. This huge plateau is covered with nothing but desert and badlands. It is also overflowing with goblinoids. The two largest groups seem to be a horde of kobolds living at the southern foot of the plateau and orcs making their lairs on the northern edge.
The western edge of the Dust Reaches lies approximately 20 miles inland from the Gulf of Westrourke. This narrow strip is covered with a largely uninhabited forest known as Sveikassli Woods.
Further up north we arrive to the mainland of what is now the Grand Duchy of Westrourke. The southern coastal area around the Gulf of Westrourke is well forested and home to many lumberers and foresters. It is also in this area where just enough food is grown to keep the Grand Duchy self-sufficient.
The northern area currently has four baronies and two counties. The baronies are Blido, Guddal, Tromsheim, and Ytre Ystrebo. Each consists of a small village and the land approximately 20 miles in all directions around the village. [Map lovers will find these places on the Thyatian Trail Map 2: The Eastern Countries. Ed.]
The largest of the lesser dominions is the County of Nordvik. This county encompasses all the land around the Erdals Fjellet River as well as the Geittinden Mountains [which contain Finnegar's Watch, alt. 2,100 feet. Ed.]. Nordvik makes its economy from a small gold mine found in the mountains and from its major industry of dyes and pigments.
There's also the County of Viksdalen along the Dalselva River. Its borders contain the Glotta Forest as well as the Fyresvatn Bogs. This town is always fully on duty as the orcs from the Dust Reaches, as well as lizard men from the bogs, continuously harass the inhabitants of the area. Viksdalen is a major trade town as most overland journeys to Newkirk must pass through its area.
Finally, there is a marvellous signalling system all along the coast of Westrourke, starting from the keep on Finnegar's Watch all the way down to Newkirk. Several towers dot the coast every 100 miles or so. Within these towers are large, magical chimneys which can send a pillar of smoke into the air which is clearly visible by the occupants of the next tower. Through this method, a message quickly gets back to the capital of an arriving fleet. Just as importantly, any inhabitant of the area can also see the smoke signal and rush to safety themselves, saving the trouble of sending out riders to warn about an attack.
Apparently the Duke is currently seeking out potential new Barons for the regions along the Tromsa River and The Arm. Those areas are infested with goblins, and Duke Firestorm will gladly grant sections of the Svorkomo Forest (along those rivers) to anyone who can clear it of goblinoids and keep it that way.
The inhabitants of the Grand Duchy of Westrourke are a mix of Thyatian, Alphatian, and Ostlander colonists from centuries back. As with most people on the Isle of Dawn, they grow weary of the constant invasions from Alphatia and would rather just be left alone.
There is a marked prejudice against Alphatians in the area, as many people here suffered tremendously during the war, and have yet to forgive their tormentors. Even the Alphatians who have lived among the Westrourkites for years are now distrusted and looked down upon. I am glad to say that many of them have left toward Alphatian dominions. After all, who needs the remains of a destroyed empire.
Its seems that the people are happy about Duke Firestorm's recently acquired semi-independence from the Empire. They foolishly believe that their lives will now be better because of it. I find that rather ridiculous. Besides, Westrourke is still part of Thyatis, regardless what any agreements might say. After all, if the Emperor asks for his help, the Duke will rush to his aid. If that is not the role of a vassal, I do not know what is. As was mentioned, the whole agreement was merely a formality anyway.
Finally, it seems that Newkirk is attracting a fair host of bounty hunters. Duke Firestorm has offered a reward of 250,000 lucins (gp) to anyone who can bring him General Martigan alive. It appears the Duke is seeking revenge for the death of his father. General Martigan was a count in the lands of Norwold, but became independent after the sinking of Alphatia, and then abandoned the court life altogether to go adventuring. He and his party are very powerful [18th level+, Ed.], and it is believed they have left Mystara altogether to wander the outer planes.
There are two main attractions to Westrourke that come to my mind. The first involves Finnegar's Watch. Many hiking trails cover the Geittinden Mountains leading up to the famous peak. As you reach the higher altitudes, pine forests start to surround you, and rushing streams from various springs can keep any thirst satisfied. Many an outdoor- lover starts his journey from the small village of Okstad at the foot of the mountains and works his way up.
The view from Finnegar's Watch is just fantastic. Also, thanks to the military garrison at in the area, it is also clear of any dangerous monsters.
Also, near Gund's Tower in the Duchy of Newkirk, many men practice a somewhat unusual sport. They dive off the cliff, almost hundreds of feet high, into the shallow waters of the Gulf of Newkirk. Although it may sound like nothing much, one's heart does race to see someone plummet to what looks like certain death only to come out unscathed. I must say that to see such bravery in a fellow man shows how great the Thyatian people really are.